Charlie Wyke and Bryan Oviedo's Sunderland absence explained as Jack Ross ponders these key changes

Jack Ross is hopeful that Charlie Wyke and Alim Ozturk will be fit for the trip to Oakwell on Tuesday night.

By Phil Smith
Monday, 11 March, 2019, 16:55
Charlie Wyke could return to the Sunderland squad on Tuesday night at Oakwell

The pair both missed the trip to Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.

Though neither have been regular starters of late, Ross has been rocked by a raft of fresh injury problems.

Duncan Watmore is out and awaiting the results of a scan on an ankle problem, the forward the victim of a crude challenge from Wycombe's Marcus Bean.

Tom Flanagan is concussed, as is George Honeyman, with the midfielder also starting a three-game suspension from league action.

With Flanagan out, Ozturk will battle with Jack Baldwin for a starting berth in arguably the biggest game of the season so far.

Glenn Loovens is also fit, but has dropped down the pecking order after his red card at Portsmouth before Christmas.

"Charlie [Wyke] came in on Friday, having been ill the night before," Ross said.

"He was still not great on Friday morning, we couldn't afford to let him travel with the group in case he infected others.

"He was back in on Monday, still not quite 100% but should be OK to travel tomorrow.

"Alim [Ozturk] was back on the pitch on Monday so should be fine, as he was only missing a couple of days last week."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Reece James is also injured, meaning Ross will be forced to make another change to his backline.

Adam Matthews featured at left-back both in the second half at Wycombe and in the Checkatrade Trophy semi final last Tuesday, so would seemingly be the natural replacement.

Ross could also bring back Denver Hume, particularly if the injuries to Honeyman and Watmore created a need to push Luke O'Nien further forward.

One solution Ross has hinted he is unlikely to pursue is the return of Bryan Oviedo.

Oviedo has not featured for the club since a deadline day move to West Brom fell through, his last appearance coming in the Checkatrade Trophy win over Manchester City U21's back on January 22nd.

In that time he has had three injuries, firstly to his calf, then his knee, and then is calf again.

"Bryan trained on Monday, but, I think he's trained 17 days in the last two and a bit months," Ross said.

"He's not started a league game since Shrewsbury [on December 29th].

"So he's a bit off match fitness, he's not trained much at all."